There are times when I’d like to comment on a post and I can’t.

I’m not talking about blogs where the author has turned off comments because he or she doesn’t want to be bothered. Nor am I talking about books and magazines where you have to be a subscriber to comment. (I do feel rather annoyed that the New Scientist will not recognize that to save paper and storage space I have an iPod subscription.) I’m talking about blog entries that ask for comments, such as some on Six Sentence Sunday and Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday, and don’t allow me to comment.

I suspect that in many cases the author of the blog has no idea that people who want to make comments cannot make them. If by any chance mine’s in that class, for goodness sake contact me at sbowling at mosquitonet dot com and I’ll try to figure out how to fix it.

So far, with my WordPress blog, most of my problems have been with captchas and with Blogspot blogs.

Most captchas are only an annoyance to me, though they may make commenting impossible for those with visual or aural handicaps. Usually I can get one by at least the second try, though I have run into a few lately that three tries (after which I quit) were not successful. One type has separated distorted letters, and I can never figure out whether and where to put spaces. Other times I am sure I have gotten it right (3 times!) and the thing keeps coming back with “you didn’t get it, try again.” But the worst are the ones that won’t even accept my identity.

Many Blogspot blogs have a “select profile” button that in some cases gives you a choice of Google Account, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad or OpenID. The only one I’m familiar with is WordPress, but when I try it, it just gives back my entry without forwarding it to the site. I’ve heard this is because the blogger in question has enabled captcha, and there is a bug in the captcha code for blogspot.

There are other blogspot blogs, with what looks like the same “select profile” button, but the button gives you three additional choices: AIM, Name/URL or Anonymous. These I can comment on with no problem, putting my WordPress blog in as the URL. I have no idea, though, of how the blogspot bloggers set up their sites to use one or the other “select profile” buttons, or a third option that simply gives radio buttons.

I don’t think I use captcha. WordPress asks me to moderate all comments before they appear, and has a built-in spam filter (akismet.) Some of the spam is clearly machine-generated. But of course I don’t see the blog as readers see it, so if I’m wrong, please let me know.